Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Review, Author Interview & Giveaway: Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

Chesapeake Valor Book Three

5 stars / It was amazing


FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life--but isn't sure exactly what he's chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that "the wrath is coming," Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She's sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there's anyone who can help him, it's Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can't deny, and she's pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell--and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming "wrath" that could cost thousands their lives.

My Review

Yeah, so I finished this book at 2 am, my husband was out of town, and I had to fall asleep with the lamp on! Talk about intense! This is one of those can't-put-it-down books, where the pace is quick and the characters don't seem to stop for one second. Well, they do stop for some good kissing, but that's another kind of intense ;) There are two cases being worked by the team of friends, and by now we've gotten to know Griffin and Finley from Cold Shot, and Parker and Avery from Still Life. I've been so excited for Declan and Tanner's story since there was a great lead-in to their current relationship, so I recommend reading the books in order for the best experience. It can also be read out of order since there are no spoilers for the plots of the previous books (which I think is a good choice).

The case that Griffin is leading is creepy and a little gory. There's a lot of angles that the team had to work since it involves some obvious suspects but also options for hidden motives by others. Declan is continuing his investigation from Still Life, and now gets to work with Tanner as his partner, which gives them plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal. There is quite a bit of danger, running from bullets, and taking out would-be assassins. Declan learns more about Tanner's past and why she is so good at her job, and is able to trust that she can indeed handle the scary situations they find themselves in. Tanner sees a lesser-known side of Declan and as his walls come down, they grow closer together. I loved their developing romance and the great chemistry they have together!

I was impressed how the members of the team really lived their faith as they petition the Lord for guidance and safety as they search for clues and follow the leads to obtain justice and protect innocent lives. Another thread is woven in that will lead into the fourth book in the Chesapeake Valor series, and this one has been a long time coming, solving a mystery that was introduced in the first book, Cold Shot. I can't wait to read what I hope will be Kate and Luke's story! I highly recommend this series to fans of romantic suspense!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Interview with Author Dani Pettrey

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My husband Mike and I have been married 25 years. We have two beautiful daughters, two adorable grandsons, one awesome son-in-law, and a one-hundred and twenty-pound Newfoundland puppy who looks more like a bear than a dog, but has the sweetest temperament ever. I love connecting with readers, so please drop by and say hi!

What do you do besides writing?

I spend a lot of time with my grandbabies and girls. I also love hiking, kayaking, traveling, reading, spending time at the beach and am always in search of the world’s best iced mocha.

Do you have images you can share that come close to how you picture your characters? Do you like to find visual inspiration for your characters before or during your writing process?

Absolutely. I’m a super visual writer, so I always find pictures of my characters either before I start writing, or more often, as I’m writing. And, there have been times when I’ve changed my inspiration as the character comes to life and I need to find a better ‘fit.’ For Declan, I pictured Henry Cavill and for Tanner I pictured Shiri Appleby.

What are some songs that you listened to or inspired you while writing your book?

I always make a soundtrack as I’m writing when I hear songs which remind me of the story and my characters. I’ll be sharing Blind Spot’s playlist soon, but in the meantime, a couple of the songs include: From the Ground Up from Dan & Shay and Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns.

What message would you like readers to ultimately take away from the book?

My take-away for Blind Spot is hope. Hope in friendships, family, loved ones and, most importantly, hope in Christ and all that we have in and through Him and His constant presence and love.

What can we look forward to coming from you in the future?

I’m currently working on two projects. I’m revising book four of the Chesapeake Valor series, which will release in July. I’m also extremely excited to be partnering again with Dee Henderson and Lynette Eason on a novella collection. When those projects are complete, I will dive into my new series, Coastal Guardians, which features Coast Guard Investigative Service special agents and is set in coastal North Carolina. I’m thrilled to be able to bring new characters and new settings to my readers in the coming years.

Thanks so much for hosting me!

Thank you Dani for sharing your insights about Blind Spot and providing a copy to give away to one lucky reader!

Don't miss the first two books in the Chesapeake Valor series . . .

Heidi Reads... Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey


In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world--and friendships--crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet--until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern--a young social justice lawyer missing since spring--and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he'll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he--and those he cares about--are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.


Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Review & Interview: Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

Heidi Reads... Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


When settler Clare Inglesby is widowed on a mountain crossing and her young son, Jacob, captured by Shawnees, she'll do everything in her power to get him back, including cross the Ohio River and march straight into the presence of her enemies deep in Indian country. Frontiersman and adopted Shawnee, Jeremiah Ring, promises to guide Clare through the wilderness and help her recover Jacob.
Once they reach the Shawnees and discover Jeremiah's own Shawnee sister, Rain Crow, has taken
custody of Jacob--renaming him Many Sparrows--keeping his promise becomes far more complicated, the consequences more wrenching, than Jeremiah could have foreseen.

My Review

What an epic story! I was completely immersed in the time period and setting with Clare as she fights for her son. It's definitely a heartbreaking journey and the process of change she goes through is profound. Jeremiah's support and patience is a Godsend to her, although she doesn't always see him that way when he doesn't act as swiftly as she'd like. The struggles and experiences portrayed seem unreal, but I know that they are based on history and the realities that settlers and natives faced. I appreciate the meticulous research of the author and I feel like it really made the story come to life. The powerful themes of waiting on God and trusting that He will work all things for our good are strongly felt in the long journey Clare and her family are on. Highly recommend!!!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

About the Author

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn't writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of "Burning Sky," recipient of three Christy Awards, "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn," Christy-nominee "The Wood's Edge," and "A Flight of Arrows."
Find out more about Lori at
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Q: Have you always enjoyed studying history? What drew you to writing specifically
about 18th-century America? 
I had no particular interest in history as a subject until around my sophomore year in
high school, when I discovered the Sunfire Young Adult historical romance series
(Jessica was my favorite) and Christy by Catherine Marshall. That’s all it took to engage
my interest, although it wouldn’t be until I started writing historical fiction I began what
I’d call studying history.
What drew me to write about 18th-century America in particular was nothing more
profound than a liking for men’s knee breeches. I’d seen the movie The Patriot (starring
Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger) and for the first time, for some reason (Mel? Heath?), paid attention to what the guys were wearing. I’d been thinking of trying my hand at historical fiction and suddenly knew that if I did, I’d want my male characters wearing knee breeches. 
A quick Google search told me the fashion began disappearing around 1800, so I zeroed in on the late 1700s as I began hunting for a time and place to set a story. Little did I know I’d taken the first step on a journey that has lasted nearly two decades. I discovered a passion for 18th-century Colonial and early Federal American history I certainly didn’t see coming when I sat down to watch that movie. 
Q: What inspired the storyline for Many Sparrows? How much of the book is based on historical fact? 
Story ideas set on the 18th-century frontier are constantly spinning around in my head
as I research whatever novel I’m presently writing — too many to write in one lifetime.
The initial kernel/idea for Many Sparrows dates too far back to recall it specifically. For years I had a file going called “The Frontiersman” because I knew I wanted to write about one. From time to time other ideas began sticking to the bits in that file, and eventually I saw the beginnings of a story forming about a man who lived his life on both sides of that frontier. I wasn’t really sure yet why. Still on the backburner, I began thinking about what sort of woman I might add to my frontiersman’s story. Why would she be on the frontier? What might compel her to cross the line, and in what way might my frontiersman’s path get tangled up with hers? As I asked such questions, Clare Inglesby eventually formed. At the same time I started looking at what was happening on the frontier at various points before and after the Revolutionary War, seeking the exact year for the story’s setting. I landed on two incidents that occurred in 1774, one to use as the inciting incident from which the rest of the story flows, and the other much deeper into the story. The Yellow Creek Massacre formed the book’s opening scene. The murder of nearly the entire family of the Mingo warrior, Logan, on the banks of the Ohio happened April 30, 1774. It and his subsequent revenge is part of what escalated the brutal conflict between Native Americans and white settlers along the Ohio that year, culminating in Lord Dunmore’s War and the Battle of Point Pleasant in October. Numerous other incidents portrayed in Many Sparrows are drawn from the historical record, but Logan’s tragedy and Virginia Governor Dunmore’s campaign against the Shawnees are the most prominent.
Q: Without giving away too much of the story, can you share where the title Many Sparrows comes from? 
The title has several meanings. It’s taken from the verses in Matthew 10 quoted in the front matter of the book. "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. . . . Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." The title Many Sparrows speaks to the theme of God’s vigilance in our lives and His constant care for us, as well as the fact we are linked to one another. There are many sparrows in His sight, not just one, and He’s concerned for them all.
It’s also the name given to an important character in the story.
Q: It is well known that traveling west was a dangerous endeavor, and many lost their lives not only to the elements and illnesses, but to native tribes. What added dangers did a pregnant woman face?
Childbirth was one of the riskiest things a woman in the 18th century could experience. Death in childbirth was common, even in the best of circumstances. Couple that hazard with heading into the wilderness perils you mentioned, and I’m amazed any woman, such as Clare Inglesby in Many Sparrows, survived at all.
In truth, I know of at least one woman in a similar situation to Clare’s who did survive: Mary Draper Ingles. Mary was pregnant when she and her two young sons were taken captive by Shawnees from her frontier home during the 1750s. She went into labor during the long march to the Shawnees’ Ohio villages. She survived childbirth, the march, months of captivity, an epic escape and retracing a journey of hundreds of miles back to her Virginia home. The courage, strength and fortitude women in far less desperate straits than Mary had to
possess to venture westward to settle the frontier is astonishing to consider. I’m thankful they did it and I don’t have to.
Q: Can you give a little tease about your next work in progress?
Tentatively titled The King’s Mercy, the story is set in an earlier time period than any I’ve written before: the first half of the 18th century. I’m returning to Colonial North Carolina as a setting, though the story begins in Scotland. I don’t have a publication date yet, but I’m guessing sometime in late 2018.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review, Interview, & Giveaway: Courting the Country Miss by Donna Hatch

Cynical and broken-hearted, Leticia banishes dreams of marriage. When her childhood friend, Tristan, wagers he can find her the perfect husband, she hopes the challenge will coax him to forgo his devil-may-care lifestyle. Meanwhile, Leticia throws herself into forming her charity school but meets opposition—even from the people she’s helping.

Guilt-ridden that his past mistakes robbed Leticia of true love, Tristan vows to set it right, but match-making has its pitfalls for a repentant scoundrel. When he finds two ‘perfect’ gentlemen to court her, he discovers his own deep feelings for the lady.

Though Tristan seems to reform, Leticia doesn’t dare risk heartbreak with a notorious rake. When opposition for the school takes a deadly turn, can Tristan protect her from a madman bent on destroying their dreams and their lives?

Come check out her other books and see what's new!

And she has even more books we have not featured!

Be sure to check them out on her website!

Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Connect with the Author here: 

Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~
Goodreads ~ Twitter ~

I loved reading about the characters again from Courting the Countess and seeing the story continue. I'm not a fan of "rakes" so it took a while for me to warm up to Tristan, but as the story progressed his vulnerabilities were revealed and his choices to become better and worthy of Leticia made him easier to like. Leticia's disappointment in her love life is the focus of her thoughts early in the book, so I was glad when she put her efforts into creating opportunities for education  for the lower class. The action in the plot that came later made things exciting and it was great to see Leticia and Tristan's relationship develop from sibling-like to romance. Another lovely Regency from this author!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions expressed are my own)

Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

I have been married for almost 30 years and we have 6 children and one grandchild. I recently moved to the Pacific Northwest and I love the beautiful area! My first book was published in 2008 and to date, I have 19 published titles.

What do you do besides writing? 

I enjoy going for walks, hiking, and music in all its forms: listening to it, singing, and playing the harp. I enjoy old movies and browsing antique stores. Since my move to the Pacific Northwest, I have taken up gardening a little which I enjoy much more than when I lived in the Arizona desert.

Do you have images you can share that come close to how you picture your characters? Do you like to find visual inspiration for your characters before or during your writing process? 

The female model on the cover of my book looks a lot like I'd pictured my heroine, Leticia, of this book. My hero, Tristan, looks nothing like the model. My hero looks more like the hero on the cover of my book, The Suspect's Daughter.  The appearance of the characters usually develops during the first few chapters of the rough draft.

What are some songs that you listened to or inspired you while writing your book? 

I like to listen to new age piano music such as Yanni or David Lanz or to the Regency Age music channel on Pandora. I can't listen to any lyrics or a drum beat or it bumps me out of my writing groove.

What message would you like readers to ultimately take away from the book? 

Take your pick; love conquers all, we all deserve second chances, forgiveness heals wounded hearts, serving others makes us better people and creates meaning and purpose to our lives. Readers might pick out others.

What can we look forward to coming from you in the future? 

I am working on book five of the Rogue Hearts series and I'm also plotting a third book in the Courting Series.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Interview with Courtney Walsh, author of Just Look Up

I'm so excited to share an interview with Courtney Walsh, one of my favorite authors of contemporary romance! I love the poignant vibe of her writing and the unforgettable characters and themes. First, check out her new book Just Look Up, then keep scrolling for some fun details about Courtney . . .
Heidi Reads... Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing 
(Read my review here)


After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home--a quaint tourist town full of memories she'd just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work--something her eclectic family doesn't understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren't ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can't find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he's found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along--if only she'd just look up.

And now, here's Courtney!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in the same town as President Ronald Reagan.
I have degrees in theatre and journalism.
I think band geeks make the best husbands.
I’m not much of a risk taker and while the idea of traveling appeals to me, I’m scared to fly over water.
I LOVE Robert Downey Jr. (and have ever since I saw Chaplain when I was in high school.)
I wear workout clothes a lot—even on the days I don’t work out.
One of my big dreams is to see a whale in the wild. An even bigger dream? To photograph it!
We spent 12 years in ministry prior to starting our own business—a performing arts studio and youth theatre (our dream job!) which we started in 2014. It’s technically my “day job” but we look at it more as a ministry.
We have three kids (ages 16, 13 and 9).  

What do you do besides writing?
Mainly, help run The Studio, our business. We’re always in the midst of shows, camps and private lessons/classes—often at the same time, so it’s a pretty big job. These two things + being a mom = a very FULL (but happy!) life!

Do you have images you can share that come close to how you picture your characters? Do you like to find visual inspiration for your characters before or during your writing process?

Oddly, no. I’m an extremely visual person, but I really don’t use images when creating my characters. I have such a clear picture of them in my head that no one is exactly right! This is why I was so happy that Tyndale chose not to show faces on the cover of this book. I do have LOTS of images of the setting though because creating the town, I was definitely inspired by many pictures!

What are some songs that you listened to or inspired you while writing your book?
I listen to instrumental movie soundtracks when I write. I have a Pandora station with all of my favorites. Some of the best ones include the music from Harry Potter, The Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, The Piano, The Bourne Identity— but I have many, many more that I love!

What message would you like readers to ultimately take away from the book?
It deals with the whole idea that we need to disconnect to reconnect. That we’re a device-addicted society and if we’d put down our phones every once in a while, we’d discover SO many things that we’re missing…but, honestly, at its core, to me, this story is about something more. It’s about the way we (especially as women) are constantly striving, trying to prove ourselves. It’s about how we don’t rest or stop or pause or take time for ourselves because we’re always taking care of everything and everyone else. It’s about the love of a God who offers grace so freely, never making us earn it or win him over, because that is a lesson I need to learn over and over and over…

What can we look forward to coming from you in the future?

I’m happy to say I have another book called Hometown Girl releasing in the fall, and next summer, a follow-up to Just Look Up called Just Let Go, which I’m working on as we speak. You can also probably look forward to more Facebook posts in which I lament the fact that chipmunks keep finding their way in my house and also the fact that technically I’m not supposed to drink coffee anymore. Sigh. How am I supposed to deal with either of these things?! ;) 

Yay!!! I am so excited to hear about your new stories! Thank you Courtney! Good luck with the chipmunks and zero coffee . . .

Don't miss this great book trailer Courtney and her husband star in!

Connect with author Courtney Walsh:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

And be sure to check out Courtney's other books which are wonderful too :)